Heat Wave Brings Health Problems

Brewster, NY- When the temperatures soar, health problems can arise. Staying cool and hydrated is the key to staying healthy and safe in a heat wave. Even those who are young and physically fit can suffer heat-related illness in extreme temperatures, especially when the hot weather lasts a few days. During hot weather, outdoor activities are best done in the early morning or evening hours when it is coolest.

“Residents should be careful during any hot weather. Watch out for your family and friends, and check in on your neighbors. Infants, young children and the elderly can have more problems in hot weather,” says MaryEllen Odell. “During extreme heat events, cooling centers are opened during the day for Putnam residents.”

“A list of Putnam cooling center locations is posted online, along with the phone numbers you can call to check their hours of operation, “says Ken Clair, Commissioner of Emergency Services. The list is available at the NYS Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/.

Heat stroke, sometimes also called sun stroke, is the most dangerous type of heat-related illness. “Heat stroke actually causes several thousand deaths each year in the United States,” says Michael Nesheiwat, M.D., Interim Commissioner of Health. “When a person’s body temperature goes over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, all sorts of very serious problems can occur, including damage to your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. If you suspect someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately. The longer treatment is delayed the higher the risk of serious complications or death. Before help arrives, move the person to a cooler location, out of the sun or into air conditioning, and lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.”

In addition to a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, symptoms of heat stroke include altered mental state or behavior, confusion, nausea, rapid breathing, racing heart or headache.

Heat exhaustion, although less severe than heat stroke, is another heat-related problem. Signs of this include cold, pale, clammy skin, dizziness, fainting, nausea, muscle cramps or headache.  “If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler location and apply cool water to lower your temperature. With heat exhaustion, drink sips of water every 15 minutes for one hour,” Dr. Nesheiwat advises.

Heat cramps or painful spasms in the legs and abdomen can also occur, but are less severe. If a person is on a low-sodium diet or has heart problems, seek medical attention right away. Otherwise, drink sips of water every 15 minutes for one hour. If cramps don’t go away within one hour, seek medical care.

Take the following precautions to avoid problems in hot weather. Drink plenty of fluids and don’t wait to be thirsty to drink. Water is best because it replenishes your body’s natural fluids. Alcohol and very sugary drinks should be avoided because they dehydrate the body. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. Apply it 30 minutes before going out because a sunburn will affect the body’s ability to cool down. Stay indoors in a cool or air-conditioned place as much as possible. Never leave a person or pet in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are open or you think it may be only for a few minutes.

For more information on heat-related illness during prolonged periods of extreme temperatures, call the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

PAWLING RESIDENT CONVICTED OF STEALING $160,000 FROM CEMETERY

CARMEL, NEW YORK – June 26, 2018: Putnam County District Attorney Robert V. Tendy announced today that on June 25, 2018, Robert Bauer, of Pawling, NY, was convicted after a jury trial of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, and two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.

As proven at trial, from approximately mid-2010 to mid-2015, Bauer submitted invoices to the Raymond Hill Cemetery, located in Carmel, NY for work he allegedly performed and materials he allegedly purchased on the cemetery’s behalf. Bauer was the Superintendent of Raymond Hill. He was reimbursed by the cemetery based on the invoices he submitted. However, Bauer did not actually perform the work or purchase the materials, and invoices he submitted were either wholly false or grossly inflated. Additionally, in at least one case, Bauer submitted a forged document which he claimed was an actual invoice from a vendor in support of his claim for reimbursement. In total, Bauer stole more than $160,000 from the cemetery as a result of this scheme.

Bauer is scheduled to be sentenced by County Court Judge Larry Schwartz on September 21, 2018. Bauer faces a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years’ incarceration in state prison.

D.A. Tendy would like to thank the members of the jury for their careful consideration of the evidence in this case. He would also like to thank the New York State Police and the New York Department of State, Division of Cemeteries for their assistance in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Larry Glasser with significant assistance from Investigator Michael Benvie.

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Putnam’s Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers Moves Forward

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County’s lawsuit to hold the opioid manufacturers and distributors responsible for the rampant heroin and opioid abuse and deaths in our communities can proceed after several Motions to Dismiss were rejected in State Supreme Court in Central Islip, NY, on Tuesday, June 19.

State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo denied several Motions to Dismiss filed by various manufacturers of opioid-related pharmaceuticals.  Putnam County is one of the dozens of New York counties that have filed suit against pharmaceutical companies for deceptive marketing practices, claiming these practices were meant to minimize the addiction risks of opioids. The lawsuit alleges that the Defendant manufacturers fueled statewide and community-based addiction crises through false advertising and deceptive marketing.

“Justice Garguilo’s decision let Big Pharma know that we have a credible cause for filing this lawsuit and those companies will not be able to hide from its share of responsibility and accountability for the opioid crisis behind its high-priced attorneys,” said County Executive Odell. “The opioid crisis has affected far too many Putnam County residents and I am pleased to see that courts agree that our case deserves to be heard.”

Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, who chairs the Health Committee, agreed.

“The court decision verifies that taking on the pharmaceutical companies is not just a stunt. There are triable issues of fact which should proceed before the State Supreme Court. The effects of opioid addiction and destruction are unquestionable, and have a devastating effect on society,” said Scuccimarra.

Local state representatives are also pleased with Justice Garguilo’s decision.

Senator Terrence Murphy said, “The war against heroin and opioid addiction has been fought on many fronts; in treatment centers, in homes, in schools and now in the courts. The casualties have been the individuals and families whose health and safety have been jeopardized by pharmaceutical manufacturers who care more for profits than people. It is time they were held responsible for pushing poison into our communities.”

Senator Sue Serino said, “The heroin and opioid epidemic has devastated far too many New York communities and we have a duty to ensure that we are doing all we can to stop the scourge. That includes holding those who perpetuate the problem accountable. This decision marks a positive step forward and I commend our local communities for working tirelessly to combat this pervasive problem.”

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said, “This is great news in the continued fight to combat the opioid epidemic. Putnam County is on the front lines of this fight to hold Big Pharma accountable for its role in the marketing and distribution of these highly addictive opioid pain medications.”

The court decision was encouraging news for Susan Salomone, Executive Director of Drug Crisis in Our Backyard.

“This is definitely one important hurdle in many that we face,” Salomone said. “Our hope is that justice for all the lives lost is somehow redeemed through this Supreme Court decision. Although we cannot bring our loved ones back we can find ways to use the proceeds from this litigation to help others that are still suffering.”

In addition to the New York counties’ pending action in New York State Supreme Court in Suffolk County, there are hundreds of state and local government cases filed in federal court, consolidated in the Northern District of Ohio.

County Executive Odell has stated that any monetary award given to Putnam County will be given to the nonprofit agencies that help residents battle addictions.

Blue-Green Algae Arrives Early, Again

BREWSTER, NY— Blue-green algal blooms have arrived early for the second consecutive year. So far this year, seven public beaches in Putnam County have been closed due to harmful growth. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are more than a simple nuisance. They can present a serious health hazard. Residents should be cautious when swimming, boating, or even just cooling off in waters with any algae.

The increasing number of HABs in Putnam is not entirely unexpected and county staff have been preparing. Earlier this year, the Putnam County Department of Health held a seminar with the support of the New York State (NYS) departments of Health and Environmental Conservation. Beach and water operators, along with residents, were invited to learn about ways to reduce the health risks of algal blooms. NYS funds are also being set aside to protect vulnerable lakes and other waterbodies from HABs.

“These harmful blooms are a significant issue for our county,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We have a number of beautiful lakes that have been affected. This can cause problems for recreation, and potentially for the quality of our drinking water. State funding and expertise will help us combat this problem.”

“Warming temperatures may be to blame in part for the increasing number and duration of blue-green algae blooms,” explains Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health. “The type in Putnam is technically known as cyanobacteria. These toxin-producing microscopic organisms are harmful to humans and animals if swallowed. At high levels, ingestion may cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, along with irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract.”

Toxic bacteria are naturally present in low numbers in lakes and streams. However, in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that gets a lot of sunlight, the bacteria can grow quickly and easily, creating a bloom. When this happens, floating scums on the water surface may appear, along with discolored water covering all or portions of a lake.

The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) closely monitors permitted bathing beaches, performing periodic checks at regular weekly or biweekly intervals depending on the situation. The PCDOH also responds to calls from town, village and summer camp personnel. However, when there is visible presence of blue-green algae, operators of permitted beaches must close their beach. Colors can also range from green, blue, brown, yellow, grey, or even red. Contact should be avoided with any discolored water, with or without a floating covering or unpleasant odor. When the water clears, either naturally or by treatment, follow-up water testing must be conducted. Toxins can still be present even after the bloom looks like it has passed.

“Only after a satisfactory result on a water test are town and beach personnel permitted to re-open the beach,” explains associate public health sanitarian Shawn Rogan. “We work closely with the towns to reopen the beach as soon as possible. If the water tests are acceptable, we can usually open a beach within two days.”

The PCDOH has four recommendations for residents to protect themselves from HABs. Avoiding exposure to all visible algae blooms is the number-one precaution. In addition to not swimming, even playing by the water, wading, or water-skiing may cause accidental swallowing, skin exposure, or inhalation of airborne droplets, and all should be avoided. Use added caution with open cuts or sores.  The second precaution is not to allow young children or pets to play in water where an algal bloom is present. The third is to wash hands and body thoroughly if any exposure occurs, and the fourth is not to use any water from lakes with algal blooms for drinking unless treated through a municipal water treatment plant.

There are water treatments to reduce the blooms in lakes but prevention is by far the best tactic. Treatments can involve the use of algaecides, but they have the same precautions as any pesticide.  Treatment methods, if any, are strictly a town decision, and application of an algaecide requires approval by the DEC.  Other prevention efforts involve community-wide efforts to reduce plant fertilizer use, promote efficient septic systems operations, and to manage storm water. Each of these strategies for residents helps to control the level of nutrients the algae receive and may limit their growth. These tactics are supported by the DEC, but much is still unknown about the causes of HABs.

“Reducing the use of fertilizer in a community may reduce the number and severity of blooms,” adds Mr. Rogan.  “However blooms have also occurred in remote Adirondack lakes as well.”

For more information on blue-green algae:

http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/harmful-algae-blooms-habs/

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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Please let us know if we can provide any additional information. Feel free to contactour Public Information Officer Barbara Ilardi with any questions at 845-808-1390.

Local Law Enforcement to Step up Patrols during Graduation Season This Year

Carmel, New York — This June, many of our County’s teens will be graduating high school and getting ready for college or entry into the work force. Many see this time as a “rite of passage” and engage in underage drinking and drug use (marijuana being the #1 drug). Also many parents see no problem in hosting graduation parties where alcohol will be served.  Graduations are meant to be enjoyable and memorable experiences. “However, when alcohol and/or drugs are in the mix, quite the opposite can happen especially in Putnam where many young people will be getting in their cars to travel to and from parties around the County” says Bruce Kelly, Coalition Coordinator of Putnam Communities That Care Coalition.

To insure that our young people have a safe and enjoyable graduation, law enforcement in Putnam County will be conducting party patrols throughout the graduation season.  They will be on the lookout for intoxicated/impaired drivers as well as for underage drinking parties at area residences. “High School graduation is a time for celebration, a special occasion not to be marred by tragedy.  Extra police officers will be assigned to DWI enforcement during graduation weekend to promote traffic safety” says Carmel Police Chief Michael Cazzari.

Every town in Putnam County has passed legislation entitled Social Host Liability Law. These local laws make it a misdemeanor to “host, suffer, permit, organize, or allow a party, gathering or event at his or her place of residence…where three or more minors are present and alcoholic beverages are being consumed by any minor.” In other words, it is illegal for anyone to host a party at their home and allow underage drinking to occur. This misdemeanor crime is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $3000 fine.

Putnam County Sheriff Robert L. Langley Jr. noted that   “Taking measures to ensure all our graduates have a safe and memorable occasion will not only be one of our responsibilities but the responsibility of our community.  This is a time of achievement for these graduates and it should be filled with happy memories for them and their families.  As an additional measure for safety the Sheriff’s Department will be increasing patrols during the graduation week to address traffic safety,” said the Sheriff.

Kent Police Lieutenant  Kevin Owens  stated, “ Parents should set the example and enforce the rules for this upcoming generation, it’s never a good time to drink and drive, but especially during this time of year when so many youngsters are celebrating their graduation and moving on to the next phase of their lives. The Kent patrols will be on the look out for DWI’s and erratic driving during the graduation season and all year.  “

The Putnam Communities That Care Coalition along with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, NY State Police, Kent Police Department, Carmel Police Department, Brewster Police Department and Cold Spring Police Department  wish all of our graduates good luck and remind them to be safe during graduation time.

Repaving Complete on First Carmel Route 6 Project

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell is thrilled to inform residents that the repaving of Route 6 in Carmel from Reed Memorial Library to Route 312 is complete. The $1.8 million project, which took less than 3 weeks to complete, minimally disrupted the traffic flow of the major throughway because crews worked during the overnights.

“The repaving of Route 6 was an important project to get done for the safety of our residents,” said County Executive Odell.  “I appreciate our state representatives Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, DOT Regional Director Lance McMillian and Paleen Construction for understanding that by moving the construction to the overnights we were able to avoid massive gridlock and keep the Carmel business corridor open.”

The support of Murphy and Byrne made the five-mile project become a DOT priority. They also secured the funding for it.

“Commuters, school buses, and local businesses rely on Route 6, which is one of the most heavily-traveled in the County,” said Senator Terrence Murphy. “Coming off a particularly harsh winter, the improvements made to Route 6 will enhance the quality of life for Putnam County residents and make the road surface safer for all motorists. I want to thank Putnam County Executive Odell, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and the staff at DOT for working together to complete this critically needed project.”

The monies are part of more than $100 million in state funding to repave and enhance roadways impacted by the harsh weather this past winter. Funding will support 84 projects and the renewal of nearly 1,000 lane miles of pavement across the state, including at least one project in every county and New York City.

The repairing and resurfacing of Route 6, from the turn on Willow Road located at the Putnam Trailway hub, and continuing to the intersection of Route 301 in the Hamlet of Carmel, is expected to begin in the late summer/early fall, according to the NYS DOT. It is anticipated that crews will do a majority of the work of the $1.7 million project during the overnight hours as well.

Photo Caption: A before (left side) and after view of Route 6 paving project in Carmel by the Putnam Trailway overpass.

Motorists and Bicyclists: Sheriff’s Safety Reminder About Road Sharing Rules

Putnam County Sheriff Robert L. Langley, Jr., who also serves as Chairman of the Putnam County Traffic Safety Board, is reminding motorists and bicyclists of the rules for sharing the road safely.

An amendment to the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law was enacted in 2010 that requires motorists to pass “at a safe distance” when overtaking a bicyclist traveling along the same side of the road. That law is commonly referred to as “Merrill’s Law” because the legislation was prompted by the death of Mr. Merrill Cassell, an avid cyclist who was struck and killed by a passing bus while he was riding along a road in Greenburgh.

The Vehicle and Traffic Law also provides rules for sharing the road that bicyclists must follow. When riding along a road, bicyclists must use a dedicated bicycle lane if one is provided or, if not, then near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder. Under the law, bikes must be ridden in a manner that prevents undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge.

Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway may not ride more than two abreast. Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway must ride in single file when being overtaken by a vehicle. Persons riding bicycles upon a shoulder, bicycle lane or bicycle path may ride two or more abreast if sufficient space is available, except that they must ride in single file when passing a vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian.

Any person riding a bicycle who is entering the roadway from a private road, driveway, alley or over a curb must come to a full stop before entering the roadway. Bicyclists under the age of 14 years-old must wear helmets and children under the age of one may not be carried on a bicycle.

“We want everyone – motorists, bicyclists, joggers and pedestrians to be able to enjoy safe travels along our roads” stated the Sheriff, “and if we all endeavor to show respect, care and courtesy toward each other in sharing the road, then we will all be safer.”

Revised Road Work Schedule 6/18-6/22

***UPDATED REVISION***

Revision to the revision:

Paving will commence during the day on Monday June 18, 2018 9am to 4pm, mon – fri

Only the loop work will be occurring at night 8pm – 6am. Mon – thurs.

Week of 6/24-6/29

Loops will continue sun – thurs 8pm-6am

Any remaining milling & paving, shoulder backup, gutter work will be mon-fri 9am – 4pm.

***Revised Schedule 6/18-6/22***

The milling and paving will continue Monday night on the shoulders WB 8PM-6AM, then will resume during the daytime T-F, 9Am-4PM, with any remaining shoulder & side street work.

Loop work will begin on Monday night and continue nightly until complete. Approximately 2-3 weeks. Schedule will be S-F, 8pm-6am and will be at signalized intersections. Work will progress one intersection at a time.

All work is weather dependent and will shift accordingly.

****Schedule 6/25-6/29 ****

Any remaining gutter work, shoulder backup & cleanup will continue daytime with the hours of 9am-4pm, M-F

Loops will continue 8pm-6am S-F.

All work is weather dependent and will shift accordingly

Thank you.

PCDOH Offers Free HIV Testing on June 27 – 1 in 5 new cases are among youth and young adults

BREWSTER, NY— About 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and one in seven of them don’t know that they are infected. These statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta are the reason for having National HIV Testing Day each year on June 27— to encourage people of all ages to get tested. This year the Putnam County Department of Health will again be offering free HIV testing on Wednesday, June 27, at the main health department office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We have come a long way in improving the treatment for HIV since the disease was first seen in the U.S. decades ago,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “That’s why it is important to get tested and start treatment early.”

“Undetected and untreated, the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, usually causes AIDS, which is often a fatal disease,” said Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Putnam County’s Interim Commissioner of Health. “However today numerous medications exist to treat the virus. Early diagnosis and treatment has transformed patient outcomes and they can live long and productive lives. Even one death from AIDS today is too many. Early detection and treatment is also key to limiting spread of the virus. Everyone should be tested for HIV testing at least once, if not on a routine basis.”

In the early stages of HIV infection a person may feel fine. The only way to know for certain if a person is infected is to get tested. Free HIV testing and counseling will be offered by the Putnam County Department of Health on June 27 with results ready in just 20 minutes. No appointments are necessary, and privacy and confidentiality are ensured. Free condoms, giveaways and educational information will be available.

This year the official CDC theme for the day is “Doing It My Way, Testing for HIV,” which highlights the importance of HIV testing and that individuals can choose HIV testing on their own terms. For those who are busy on June 27, or wish to be tested at a different time, the health department offers free testing throughout the year as well. The walk-in clinic hours are on Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Other options include getting tested by a personal health care provider or at the federally qualified health center Open Door Brewster. When and where to get tested is a person’s own choice. The important thing is to get tested. For questions or concerns about scheduling a test, or for more information about HIV testing or HIV/AIDS education and prevention, contact the health department at (845) 808-1390.

HIV can affect anyone regardless of age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender. Among new HIV diagnoses in 2016 in the U.S., 21 percent were among youth and young adults, aged 13 to 24 years of age. People aged 50 and older have many of the same HIV risk factors as younger people, but may be less aware of their risk. In 2015, people aged 50 and older accounted for 17 percent of those living with HIV infection.

Today people with HIV and AIDS do live longer, healthier lives, and new research is promising, but there is still no vaccine or cure for HIV. Safe sex is still the best “primary prevention.” Older Americans are more likely than youth to be tested later in the course of their disease. This means delayed treatment, and as a result, more health problems. Despite medical advances, HIV/AIDS is still a significant cause of death for some age groups. It was the 8th leading cause of death for those 25 to 34 years of age in 2014 in the U.S.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Putnam County Awarded $100,000 for Airport Park Drainage

CARMEL, NY – County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that Putnam County will receive a $100,000 grant through New York’s State and Municipal Facilities Program to conduct drainage improvements to Airport Park in Mahopac. Airport Park is a county-owned property that was leased to the Town of Carmel in 2005 for 99-years. The drainage improvements will, among other things, improve water quality to downstream wetlands and surrounding water bodies, rectify water runoff issues, reducing phosphorous in runoff at Lake McGregor which abuts Airport Park.

“When different layers of government can work together the taxpayers win,” said County Executive Odell. “The Town of Carmel will be doing a major transformation of Airport Park to better serve its residents. Putnam County was able to apply for a state grant that provides a better foundation for the project. By working together, we are able to conduct needed upgrades to the property with funding help from New York State.”

The $100,000 grant will be administered through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.